I Wish I Knew What My Insides Look Like
When I was a little girl, I had what you’d call a love/hate relationship with my body, but not the way you might be thinking. I wasn’t one of those kids who’s already scrutinizing their reflection in the mirror, looking for things to hate. No, I wasn’t the biggest fan of my bushy, biracial hair or my somewhat oblong face. But those were minor details at best to me.
I was more concerned with how you couldn’t simply unzip your body and take it off for a while when you got too hot or uncomfortable the way you could with a jacket or a sweater. Because to me, it felt like something you ought to be able to do.
It still does.
When I think of myself in my purest form, stripped of as many layers as possible, I don’t think of my naked body made of meat, bone, and blood. Instead, I think of something unknowable and intangible buried somewhere deep within this body. This nameless something is stuck wherever it is and cannot break free for reasons I still don’t entirely understand.
I don’t feel like I am a body so much as I simply have one, just as I have clothes to wear or a house to live in. I feed it, clean it, and ride around in it all day. I’ve learned to take pride in how well I can take care of it and how great I can make it look with a little extra effort. But it doesn’t really feel like it’s genuinely part of me. It never has.
I would eventually find out as an adult that I was on the autism spectrum, which explained a lot to me about the way I was, including this whole body thing. I’ve never actually outgrown these feelings. But I’ve made my peace with them over the 46 years I’ve been alive so far, just as most people would anything else specific about being alive that doesn’t always quite make sense.
Being the proud owner of a body is complicated
It has needs that must be met if it’s going to remain functional. It must be fed, clothed, sheltered, and cleaned. Sometimes taking care of those things is a massive inconvenience. Other times they’re things I genuinely enjoy, as I do with cooking, working out, and beauty routines.